Home Air Conditioner Leaking Water: What To Do

Have you asked yourself recently, “Why is my home air conditioner leaking water?” Are you concerned about the amount of water that seems to be coming from your AC unit? If so, you’re not alone.

Seeing water dripping from your air conditioning unit might be very frightening. A filthy puddle inside would be the last thing you need, not to mention the horrifying cost of repairs! Even though your air conditioner eliminates moisture from the air, this scenario is not typical. Instead, a water leak from an AC may signify a significant problem.

There are several reasons why your home air conditioner may be leaking water. This article will cover the most common causes and what you can do about them.

Why Does an Air Conditioner Collect Water?

air conditioner system

Before we get into why your air conditioner might be leaking water, it’s important to understand how an AC unit works.

The air conditioner in your home uses refrigerant to cool the indoor air. This process requires two coils that are filled with refrigerant. One coil is located inside your home, while the other is outside.

The refrigerant in the coils absorbs heat from the air as it passes through. This heat transfer causes the refrigerant to change from a gas to a liquid.

The coils inside your home are called evaporator coils. The coils outside are called condenser coils.

The refrigerant changes into a liquid and is pumped back outside to the condenser coils. The heat is released into the air, and the refrigerant changes into a gas. This process happens repeatedly and is how your air conditioner can keep your home cool and comfortable.

Now that you understand how an air conditioner works let’s take a look at the most common reasons why they may start leaking water.

The Most Common Reasons for an Air Conditioner Leaking Water

There are several reasons why your air conditioner may be leaking water. The most common include:

?Clogged Condensate Drain Line

This is one of the most prevalent causes of air conditioning leaking water. Dirt and debris are present in the moisture gathered by your unit during the dehumidification process. If the condensate drain pipe is not cleaned regularly, this might build up and produce a blockage. Water will eventually accumulate in your unit, causing it to flow out of the drain pan straight inside your home.

Some newer air conditioners contain a cutoff switch that shuts down the machine if the condensate pipe becomes clogged. This is an excellent way to safeguard your home against water damage. If your unit does not have this choice, you will have to take action on your own.

Cleaning a clogged drain line:

  • Turn off your unit and look for standing water in the drain pan. In order to avoid mold formation, empty and thoroughly clean the drain pan.
  • Determine the condition of the drain line. 
  • Next, scrape the line well with a long wire brush to remove debris. A special pump or vacuum may be necessary if it is significantly clogged. 
  • Pour a small bit of water into it and make sure it flows smoothly out the other end to ensure it is clean. Regular HVAC repair should be high on your priorities list as a preventative measure. 
  • Pour bleach down the drain pipe every six months as part of your maintenance program to clean the condensate drain line. This will also aid with the removal of bacteria and the prevention of mold. However, increasing the frequency may raise the chances of rusting.

?Frozen Coil

Frozen coils are one of the most common reasons air conditioners leak water. The coils are responsible for transferring heat from the air inside your home to the outside air. In order to do this, they rely on a process called condensation. 

As warm air passes over the coils, they cause the water in the air to condense into liquid form. This liquid then drips into a pan below, where it is eventually drained out of your home. However, if the coils become too cold, they can no longer effectively transfer heat. As a result, the water vapor in the air will condense directly onto the coils, causing them to freeze. Sometimes, this can cause the coils to rupture, leading to water leaking from your air conditioner.

This problem is common in air conditioners, and you can fix it relatively easily. 

  • The first step is to turn off the air conditioner and let the coil thaw. 
  • Once the coil has thawed, you’ll need to clean it with a brush or a vacuum cleaner. If the coil is dirty, it will reduce the efficiency of the air conditioner and cause it to leak water. 
  • Once you’ve cleaned the coil, you’ll need to check the drain pan to ensure it’s not blocked. If the pan is blocked, water will build up and eventually leak out. You can clear a blocked drain pan with a wire hanger or a plunger. 
  • Finally, make sure the air filter is clean. A dirty filter will restrict airflow and cause the air conditioner to work harder than necessary, leading to water leakage.

?Broken Condensate Pump

Sometimes, an air conditioner leaks water because the condensate pump is broken. The condensate pump is responsible for pumping water out of the air conditioner and into a drain. If the pump is broken, water will accumulate in the unit and eventually leak out. 

This problem is relatively easy to fix. 

  • First, you’ll need to turn off the air conditioner and unplug it from the wall. 
  • Next, remove the panel that covers the condensate pump. 
  • Once you’ve accessed the pump, you can either clean it or replace it. 
  • You can clean the pump with a brush or a vacuum cleaner if the pump is dirty. However, if the pump is broken, you’ll need to replace it. 
  • Once you’ve replaced the pump, reassemble the air conditioner and turn it on. The leak should stop.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable performing these tasks alone, you should contact a professional.

?Low Refrigerant

Another of the most common problems with air conditioners is leaking water. In most cases, this is due to low refrigerant levels. When the refrigerant level is low, the air conditioner will struggle to cool the air, causing the coils to freeze. As the coils thaw, water will condense and drip from the unit. 

In addition, low refrigerant levels can also cause the air conditioner to run less efficiently, resulting in higher energy bills. 

The good news is that this problem is relatively easy to fix. 

  • Simply add more refrigerant to the unit and check for any leaks. 
  • Once all the leaks have been repaired, your air conditioner should be back up and running like new.

?Incorrect AC Installation

If you recently installed a new unit and it has begun to leak water, you may ask why your new AC is leaking.

The problem could be caused by faulty installation. For example, if your AC and drain pipes are not proportionate, the water flow from the drain pan is disrupted. As a result, your unit begins to leak water.

Other installation mistakes that can cause your new unit to leak water include:

  • Not slope the drain line properly
  • Use the wrong size drain pipe
  • Connect the wrong size condensate pump

If you’re not confident installing the air conditioner properly, hiring a professional is best. A qualified technician will have the experience and knowledge necessary to install your unit correctly, preventing any future problems.

?Damaged Air Handler

The air handler is responsible for circulating air throughout your home. It consists of a blower, evaporator coil, and condenser coil. If any of these components are damaged, it can cause your air conditioner to leak water.

For example, if the blower is damaged, it won’t be able to circulate air properly. As a result, the evaporator coil will become too cold and cause the condenser coil to freeze. When the condenser coil thaws, water drips from the unit.

Other signs that the air handler is damaged include:

  • Loud noises coming from the unit
  • Reduced airflow
  • Higher energy bills

If you suspect the air handler is damaged, contact a professional. They will be able to diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs.

?Condensation Accumulation

Condensation is a typical element of the dehumidifying process of your air conditioner. Excessive condensation buildup, on the other hand, might cause AC to leak water from air ducts or vents. Water can cause harm to your home’s insulation. Furthermore, it can promote mold growth in air ducts and degrade indoor air quality.

Condensation buildup can develop for a variety of causes, including:

If air ducts are not correctly insulated, warm air might reach the cold surface and cause condensation. The same can happen if your ductwork runs through an uninsulated or inadequately insulated attic.

Water leaking from air ducts can also be caused by clogged ducts, dirty air filters, and a clogged drain pump. When air cannot freely travel throughout your system due to a blockage, it becomes cooler inside the ducts, increasing the likelihood of ductwork sweating (condensation in your ducts).

Summer humidity increases the likelihood of condensation development. Roof leaks and a lack of ventilation can contribute to higher humidity levels. The ideal humidity level in your home is 30-50%.

How to Fix it:

  • Begin by insulating your ductwork. Warm air will not be able to reach the cold ducts if the ductwork is coated with insulating material. 
  • Check for any defects and repair them as soon as possible if your ducting is already insulated. 
  • You should install insulation around the ducts to keep outside air out.
  • Ensure to insulate your attic, particularly if ductwork runs through it.

To avoid the increased risk of condensation, repair the leaky roof by contacting a roofing contractor. Keeping up with your AC maintenance can also help you avoid water leaks by removing dirt and debris from your system.

?Dirty Air Filters

The air filter is one of the most important parts of your AC system, as it helps remove contaminants from the air. Unfortunately, if the air filter is not cleaned or replaced regularly, it can become clogged with dirt and debris. This can cause several problems, including water leaks.

When the air filter is clogged, it restricts airflow to the evaporator coil. As a result, the coil becomes too cold and causes the condenser coil to freeze. When the condenser coil thaws, water drips from the unit.

Luckily, this is a fairly easy problem to fix. 

  • Simply replace the air filter with a clean one and ensure it is properly installed. 
  • If the leak persists, you may need to have your system serviced by a professional. In the meantime, keep the area around your air conditioner clean and free of debris to help prevent future problems.

?Outdoor Temperatures Too Cold

While it might seem counterintuitive, cold weather can cause your air conditioner to leak water. When the temperature outside is very cold, the condenser coil can freeze. This prevents the system from properly removing heat from the air, causing water to drip from the unit.

This problem is most likely to occur in the spring or fall when the weather changes and the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors are the greatest.

The good news is that this problem can be easily fixed by simply turning off the unit and letting it thaw out. Once the coils have thawed, the unit should be able to operate normally. However, if the outdoor temperature is consistently below 60 degrees, it may be necessary to invest in a more powerful air conditioner. 

Finally, if neither of these solutions works, you may need to call a professional to have your air conditioner serviced.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When should I replace my air conditioner?

A: You should replace your air conditioner every 8-10 years.

Q: Why is my air conditioner leaking water inside my house?

A: There are several reasons your air conditioner may leak water inside your house. The most common causes are a clogged air filter, a frozen condenser coil, or outdoor temperatures that are too cold.

Q: How does HVAC system maintenance help prevent water leaks?

A: Keeping up with your AC maintenance can help you avoid water leaks by removing dirt and debris from your system.

Q: What is the ideal humidity level in my home?

A: The ideal humidity level in your home is 30-50%. You can maintain optimal humidity levels by using a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed.

Q: Do I need a service experts heating & air conditioning professional to fix my water leak?

A: If you cannot identify the cause of your water leak or if it persists despite your best efforts, you may need to call a service expert. They can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action.

Q: Does air conditioning leaking water outside damage my unit?

A: No, air conditioners are designed to withstand the elements. However, it is important to address the problem as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your AC unit.

Final Words

Coming home to a puddle of water around your air conditioner can be extremely frustrating. Not only is it a mess to clean up, but it can also be a sign of serious problems with your AC unit. Luckily, you can easily fix most water leaks with a little troubleshooting.

Therefore, if your air conditioner is leaking water, check the air filter, the condenser coil, and the outdoor temperature. If you can’t identify the problem or fix it yourself, call a professional for help. With a little care and maintenance, you can keep your air conditioner running smoothly for years to come.